Death in Venice

Nothing is complete at all in my life without this film. Not a thing. You know how people tend to recall where they were when big events happened, like when the Challenger blew up or when the twin towers fell in NYC? Well, these aren’t the events I remember- what I remember are the moments when I viewed a piece of art, whether it be music or film or painting, that shifted the course of my life permanently. This one did just that. And I can’t even pick out scenes because I view the film as one entire scene, a two hour continual picture of Aschenbach’s destructive path to enlightenment. It’s a philosophical exploration of the what it means to embrace the darker parts of who we are, and it had an enormous impact on me. Whenever I need inspiration that appeals to me personally, I turn to Death in Venice. To be honest, I hear the conversations that Aschenbach has with his friend Alfred constantly in my ears. Especially….*especially* the conversation where Alfred is trying to convince Aschenbach that in order to compose anything worth listening to, he must embrace the darkness and corruption in his soul. Aschenbach is dead set against it, trying instead to ignore those things and fulfill the ideal of the chaste and pure man. His music suffers because of it, and Alfred is pleading with him to accept it. (This entire conversation was actually used in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat as well.)

That conversation starts at 53:51 and ends at 55:00. It’s the most important scene to me in any film ever made or any book ever written. It’s the advice I take and follow. I recite it when I need to remind myself of what the hell I’m doing. I remind myself of it when I feel fear over pushing further into myself in order to create something worthwhile to me. And I push further into myself because this scene, and that quote “to be in debt to one’s own senses for a condition that is irredeemably corrupt and sick- what joy for an artist!” is the reason I do what I must. This film is everything to me. I know every movement, every little camera shift, every note played, all the people, all sets, the entire dialogue- it’s etched into my brain. I am most definitely sick with many, many corruptions, and I am without a doubt an artist, and this film pushes me forward when nothing else will.

If there is a God and/or Goddess, when I finally meet them face to face, the first thing I’ll do is thank them for this film. And the book it’s based on. And Thomas Mann, who was fucking BRAVE enough as it is to write it, and Luchino Visconti for adapting it to film.


~ by hln351 on February 9, 2015.

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